Antibiotic use declining in UK livestock

A new report from the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) says the UK livestock industry is making progress in efforts to meet antibiotic use targets, but a group of leading British clinicians warns that progress could be threatened if the government doesn’t commit to changes in the way antibiotics are used in food-producing animals.

According to RUMA’s “One Year On” report, the industry overall is making headway in its efforts to reduce antibiotic use. Sales of antibiotics to the livestock industry fell by 40% from 2013 through 2017, including a 52% decrease in sales of the most critical antibiotics for human health, and antibiotic use in food-producing animals is among lowest in the European Union. But progress in reaching 2020 targets varies among different animal sectors.

The report shows that the pig sector in the United Kingdom is on track to meet the 2020 target for reducing antibiotic use, the poultry meat sector is already under the targets set for both chickens and turkeys, the laying hen sector is below its target, and the gamebird sector hit its target 2 years early and is now considering new targets. But the cattle and sheep industries have had issues with data collection that have made it difficult to assess progress, and progress in the fish sector (farmed trout and salmon) has been mixed.

The targets were established in 2017 by RUMA’s Targets Task Force, a group that included a specialist veterinary surgeon and a leading farmer for each of the sectors covered.

“Some species have met their targets already but now, with a measure of what’s happening in their sector, they know they can go further and are working on new goals,” RUMA secretary general Chris Lloyd said in a press release. “For others at or around their optimal level of use, progress is about animal health, continual refinements to what they do and working to overcome new diseases threats as they emerge.”

Source: CIDRAP

Healthy Animals  

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